Often I take a long time over putting together the setups for my small paintings. This one originally had other objects involved – at one point a mirror in the background, at another an antique silver spoon, and a collections of bowls – but after a few hours of squinting and looking at the shapes made by the values, I decided that these pears didn’t need too much additional support and a simple composition would work best.
Their reds and oranges are rich and deep. The chroma goes as high as 12 in places (on the Munsell scale) and I think that’s why I decided to keep everything else so simple. The background and the cloth have very little chroma at all, and I think that lets the pears do their thing without argument.
And I’ve found that I’ve become more interested in the little imperfections of the fruit I’ve been painting lately. Perhaps they reflect something about a slightly flawed beauty, perhaps a kind of honesty. I want to make beautiful pictures, if I can, but I also want to become involved in the individuality of what I paint as I work. Coming into a closer relationship with something, even something as small and simple as a pear, can have meaning in itself I think – at least, it does for me.
This will actually be the last painting done in our current little house in Epsom – this Friday we move to a cottage in the beautiful village of Uley in the English Cotswolds. I’ll have a new room to paint in (I’ve been sharing my painting space with the living room furniture for the last few years!) with more space and different light – finally, north-facing windows. I’m excited about the new space, and also a little sad when I think of all the paintings I’ve done in this small room. Will my paintings feel different with different light and a different space?
We’ll probably find out next week…
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